Distorted videos of the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spreading across social media, which led to heated controversy whether social media should delete inaccurate messages, disappeared suddenly.
The doctored video of Pelosi’s onstage speech on May 22 at a Centre for America Progress Ideas Conference, in which she commented the U.S. Present Donald Trump’s refusal in cooperating with congressional investigation as a ‘cover-up’, had been edited to slow down with altering her voice. Pelosi looks like she was slurring her words in the video, leads netizens questioning whether she was drunk, or even challenging on her mental stability.
Despite the video being spread on the Internet, the social media giants especially Facebook declined to delete the fake video because of no requirement that posts must be true. However, the Facebook Page Politics WatchDog, where the video was uploaded on, asserted Facebook took the video down on June 4; while Facebook denied.
Facebook: No Requirement that Posts Must be True
Pelosi’s video were alerted as a distortion after the video began spreading across the Internet, Social media giants including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube provided completely conflicting responses shortly.
Facebook, where the fake video appeared to gain most attention – hit 47,000 shares and 2,500,000 views, declined on May 24 to delete the video. ‘We don’t have a policy that stipulates the information you post on Facebook must be true’, Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post.
However, Facebook said it instead would ‘heavy reduce’ the post’s appearances in their users’ news feeds, affix a small informational box alongside the video linking to its two fact-check sites Lead Stories and PolitiFact, and open a pop-up box linking to “additional reporting” whenever someone clicks to share the video.
Meanwhile, other social media sites take different actions from Facebook.
YouTube offered a decisive response on May 23 afternoon, saying they would remove the videos since it violates the platform’s ‘clear policies that outline what content is not acceptable to post’.
Twitter declined to give any comment, but sharing the fake videos seems not contravene the platform’s guideline, which allow ‘inaccurate statements about an elected official’ as long as the content are irrelevant with the efforts of election manipulation or voter suppression. Some tweets sharing the video, often alongside abuses that Pelosi was ‘drunk as [a] skunk’, remained exist.
Pelosi: Facebook’s refusal shows it enabled Russian election interference
After Facebook refused to take the video off even after its independent fact-checkers Lead Stories and PolitiFact deemed the content ‘false’, Pelosi went on the attack on May 30.
‘We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians. I think wittingly, because right now they are putting something that they know is false,’ Pelosi said, ‘I think it’s wrong. I can take it… but [Facebook is] lying to the public.’
Pelosi further accused Facebook’s willingness to protect an obviously inaccurate video showed the networks is enabled Russian intelligence, while Facebook did not respond immediately to Pelosi’s accusation.
Net Choice, an e-commerce trade association consists of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s Google, published a statement objecting to Pelosi’s criticism. “Hyperbolic attacks on platforms won’t help solve the tech issues of today,” Carl Szabo, vice president of the group, declared in the statement, “It’s obvious that Facebook is hugely invested in ensuring that its platform won’t be misused to aid election interference.”
Since Facebook’s response and Pelosi’s accusation keep bubbling up on the Internet, Facebook is facing political pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, with the left accusing it of anti-conservative bias and the right criticising it has become a tool to manipulate elections worldwide. But no one knows why the post disappeared suddenly.